What are assisted living facilities?
Assisted living facilities emerged in the early 1990s as a housing alternative
for senior citizens who require some assistance with their daily activities
and help coordinating healthcare services. These individuals are still
generally capable of living on their own and don’t require around
the clock nursing. These facilities provide residents with private living
quarters but monitor residents needs and provide them support services
Assisted living facilities are regulated at the state level; oversight
is often inadequate.
Assisted living facilities are regulated at the state level with no federal
oversight. State regulations governing how assisted living facilities
are run vary from state to state. However, regulations surrounding the
operation of assisted living facilities are often minimal. In addition,
inspections and enforcement are not conducted with regularity.
Recent documentary reports negligent care at assisted living facilities.
A recent “Frontline” documentary entitled, “Life and
Death in Assisted Living” reveals that residents of
assisted living facilities may be suffering as a result of states’ failure to establish and
enforce adequate regulations. The documentary explores living conditions
and the standard of care at Emeritus, the largest assisted living chain
in the United States. Emeritus has facilities throughout the country,
including locations in Georgia, Florida, and California.
Based on the investigation, assisted living facilities often fail to hire
enough sufficiently trained staff to deal with the needs of their residents.
For example, many assisted living facilities do not have a full time nurse
on staff. In addition, assisted living facilities will often take on residents
who require greater medical attention than they are capable of providing
so they can remain profitable. The average resident at an assisted living
facility is in their 80s and suffers from multiple health issues. Cognitive
loss is frequently an issue among residents of assisted living facilities.
The documentary profiles several residents of assisted living facilities
who have fallen victim to these circumstances. These individuals include
a man at a Georgia assisted living facility who died after ingesting industrial
strength dishwashing liquid which he found in an unlocked cabinet on the
premises. The fine imposed on the assisted living facility by the state
of Georgia for this incident was $601. Another assisted living facility
resident, a woman from Mississippi who suffered from dementia, fell to
her death after prying open the window to her second floor apartment.
There is also the story of a California woman who also suffered from dementia
and whose pressure ulcers went unattended until her family members sued
the assisted living facility. The family was ultimately awarded over $22
million in damages.
If you or a loved one have suffered from poor conditions at an assisted
living facility, you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney
will be able to review the facts of your case and determine whether the
assisted living facility or other party is liable for your injuries or
loss. If so, an attorney will be able to help you receive the compensation